Caching means that if you call a function several times with the exact same input, the function is only actually run the first time. The result is stored in a cache of some sort (more practical details later!). Every other time the function is called with the same input, the result is retrieved from the cache unless invalidated. You will often think of caching as something valid in only one R session, but we’ll see it can be persistent across sessions via storage on disk.
As a quick note, this makes sense when writing functions, which are expressions without side effects. If you have side effects, caching might not give you what you expect.